Still Wondering Why Prospective Customers Melt Away?
We’ve all experienced that warm tingle and inner glow when you put the phone down having arranged to meet a new or recent prospect.
Fast forward a week. We’ve also all experienced that gnawing little niggle that somehow the person you met for 90 minutes and got on with so well is just not going to become your customer and your products will not sit inside theirs.
So what happened in between the initial phone call and the empty hollow feeling a further week on when your emails are not acknowledged and they are too busy to acknowledge your calls?
Let’s deconstruct events:
They probably rang you because of one of the following:
An “acquaintance” suggested you
They are shopping around as a bargaining tool with the incumbent supplier
They saw your advert in a trade magazine or found you on Google
They “heard” on the grape vine that your products or services are cheap
They know your firm exists because they live locally
They “heard” you provide a good service or your products are robust
An existing customer recommended you
They met you at your stand at a trade show
So which was it, or did you fail to ascertain this in your excitement?
The first 2 possibilities are hardly a compelling story that is ripe for conversion.
With number 3 at least they are taking positive steps to find an alternative supplier.
Number 4 is more promising if, and only if, this is your USP.
Number 5 is already putting you well within their sights.
Number 6 can make you feel giddy.
Numbers 7 and 8 - surely it’s an open goal isn’t it?
So why are the 5, 6, 7 and 8‘s slipping through your fingers like sand?
The simple reason is that you haven’t been trained in selling and closing a sale, something afflicting many successful SME owners just like you the world over. The 90 minutes are spent in pleasantries and stories but never really hit the target, although they do come close.
But close isn’t good enough, especially as your time is valuable and you’ve just thrown away 90 minutes of the stuff. Week in - week out.
You could sign up for a comprehensive training course, even one aimed squarely at business owners, and although good courses don’t come cheap, as they say - you get what you pay for.
The courses themselves will drum into you the basics of selling, but what if you’re not up to it, you simply haven’t got what it takes to be a pushy salesman or don’t believe you do and are unwilling to push the boundaries? The old selling model is becoming less and less “fit for purpose”, and you can’t sit back and rest on your laurels. As the investment caveat says, “past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance”.
Is there a future for your firm in the coming years as social media and differentiation-driven models power growth in the most market?
Are you willing to watch customer numbers and turnover slip away steadily as your customers close, are poached away or get taken over and new ones don’t replace them sufficiently?
I’m sorry if this sounds depressing but perhaps a reality check is overdue.
As the saying goes - A good friend is somebody who tells you what you need to know, not what you want to hear.
[Struggling sales will affect the value of your business: See more advice on preparing your business for sale here.]